You have probably never heard of this movie because it spent about 3 minutes at the theater before disappearing into film making oblivion. But, don't let the near obscurity or lack of blockbuster appeal keep you from seeing this stirring and beautifully directed Philippe Falardeau story. 

The Good Lie recounts the tale of the Second Sudan Civil War of the early 1980's that left thousands of children orphaned and displaced who became known as the "Lost Boys". Their story opens in dramatic fashion when soldiers massacre a village killing the parents of Mamere, Jeremiah, Paul, and Abital. Along with thousands of other children, they make a dangerous trek of over a 1,000 miles from Sudan to Ethiopia, where they have heard there is food and safety. Along the way the children must battle to stay alive against thirst, starvation, and the constant threat of death at the hands of roaming enemy soldiers. It is a heartbreaking journey with every step taken. Upon arrival at the Ethiopian refugee camp they settle down to wait for their only hope of a better life - the opportunity to immigrate to America.

Fast forward 10 years and the family is miraculously selected for the immigration lottery and shipped to the land of their dreams. The three brothers end up in Kansas City, but to their shock and amazement, their sister Abital is separated in the bureaucratic melee and diverted to Boston.

Reese Witherspoon plays the blase employment counselor hired to help the refugees find jobs, but soon discovers she has bitten off more that she bargained for in the process. Witherspoon may have supplied the star power, but it is her cast mates who stole every scene with sweetness and honesty. Ugandan born Arnold Oceng plays Mamere the oldest of the rag tag immigrants who struggles to hold the others together in the face of his own survivor's remorse. Ger Duany's portrayal of Jeremiah (the faith led of the three men) is deep and poignant, especially since Duany was born in Sudan and recruited as a child soldier during the Civil War. Duany says that playing this role was a personal catharsis in his own journey to closure. Kuoth Wiel made her acting debut as the sister who was sent to Boston, giving an honest performance of carefully hidden strength. Even though the family has endured devastating losses along the way, they soon encounter a fresh obstacle course of challenges in assimilating to a new country.
Folks, this story captivates in numerous ways through the genuineness of the performances, the bitter sweet undercurrents of humor, and cultural clashes that spoke volumes about the diversity of our planet. I approached this film with a healthy anticipation of something different and refreshing. But I did not expect to be utterly taken back by the depths of emotions it invoked in me - effortlessly.  Yet, what can you expect when you combine the brilliance of Ron Howard, with the makers of the Blind Side? The title The Good Lie seems like a paradox; after all, how does the word "good" and "lie" exist in the same sentence? That is until you realize how the title applies to a nuanced story of incredible loss where the lines are blurred, and heart wrenching choices must be made. It is a story worthy of the seeing - not for its entertainment value, but for the reminder that sometimes there is sufficient enough reason for the good lie to be told.


  1. Love finding new gems to watch that I've never heard of! Thanks Carol! Gonna check it out :)

  2. This looks like a hidden gem, thanks for sharing!

  3. You are welcome Anonymous! I really enjoy the true stories that inspire us all to hope.


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